All hands on Deck as RV Celtic Explorer sets Sail for St. Patrick's Festival

Crew of the RV Celtic Explorer, Ireland's national research vessel, have been busy over the last few days at Galway Docks making sure the Celtic Explorer is looking her best for her maiden voyage to Dublin as part of the St. Patrick's Festival Flotilla on Sunday March 14th.

To raise awareness of the value of Ireland's vast marine resource, the Marine Institute is issuing a special invite to the public to come aboard Ireland's National Research Vessel, when she docks at Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Dublin 2 as part of the St. Patrick's Festival Celebrations.

Guided tours of the vessel will be available on Sunday March 14th from 11.00am-6.00pm and Monday March 15th from 2.00pm -6.00pm. The tour will include a visit to the bridge, where the young and "young at heart" will get the opportunity to sit in the Captain's chair, meet the seabed survey team in the dry lab and visit the aptly-named 'wet lab', where a range of fish from Irish waters will be on display. While waiting to board the vessel, children can enjoy face painting and balloons and visitors can learn more about the work of the Marine Institute in an exhibition area alongside the ship.

"This is a unique opportunity for visitors to meet with the marine scientists and crew that explore our ocean and see first hand what happens on board this advanced floating laboratory. Visitors can also learn about the work that is carried out onboard the vessel from fish stock assessments, to environmental monitoring and mapping Ireland's seabed", said Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO, Marine Institute.

The Marine Institute aims to raise awareness of the career opportunities that exist in the marine sector, particularly in marine research and development. A "Careers Clinic" will be held onboard the Celtic Explorer over the two days from 11.00am-6.00pm where Marine Institute staff and Celtic Explorer crew will be at hand to discuss career and employment opportunities available to people wishing to pursue a career in marine science or a career at sea. Information will also be available on various marine related courses in Third Level Institutions.

The deadline for the Marine Institute Bursary Scheme has been extended and applications will be accepted at the Careers Clinic over the two days. Each year the Marine Institute takes on up to 45 third level students who gain practical experience in areas as diverse as environment, oceanography, data management, fisheries science and administration.

Over 250 transition year students from schools around Dublin will visit the Celtic Explorer for a special tour on Monday March 15th from 10.00am- 2.00pm.

The 65m RV Celtic Explorer was commissioned in Galway last April and is Ireland's first deep-sea research vessel. The ship can stay at sea for up to 45 days accommodating 31 crew and scientists.  The laboratories and data management system onboard allow information to be collected and processed at sea and quickly relayed back to scientists, governments and industry groups to inform management decisions on the sustainable development of the marine resource.